Ian gave a great insight on the subject and spoke about some of the common conveyancing negligence claims. Starting with procedural errors. He continued to mention that the vast majority of negligence resulted as a consequence of failing to perform full searches, land registry failures or not registering at all. Other factors that can contribute to negligence claims are; not looking at the title properly, or not detecting that there’s a problem on a leasehold with a superior title, out of which the lease is derived. Time pressure, is another cause where, solicitors can become so busy that mistakes are being made.
Negligence claims are also arising from miscommunication, or poor communication, or someone not spotting something that is out of the ordinary. Another fundamental factor was mentioned, which is property fraud, this is when a criminal will try and pass money through conveyancing firms, especially those who engage in cyber-crime. Therefore, it is really important to do your due diligence to avoid your firm or client taking a big hit from a fraudulent seller.
Further on in the session, there were discussions around how steps can be taken in order to reduce the risk of having a professional negligence claim against the firm. Starting from the onset of taking on a new client. It is important to Identify the clients legal needs and what the clients objectives are.
It is best to be clear of all the steps involved in the conveyancing process, as claims can arise due to the clients lack of knowledge. Therefore it is a good thing that you are telling your client what you are going to be doing in your engagement or retainer letter. Ensure that your client has read and understood any conveyancing reports. The use of artificial intelligence can also help, when used correctly.
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